{31 Days: Day 18} Onward, Upward

First of all, I have the greatest friends. I asked one of my Wyoming buds to take a picture of a very specific thing in a very specific place for me – and without questioning why, or what for, or why him, he just went and did it and said, “I hope these work.” He’s known me a long time, and he knows I’m a little kooky, a little unconventional, a hazardous driver (in my younger years) and he loves me anyway – enough to just go and trust I have a purpose for making an odd request. Gosh, I love the people God put in my life. Thank you, Darrell – they absolutely work (perfectly), and you’re amazing. 
You see, I had an idea for a blog post during this series, and the visual that came to mind was a very specific scene I had driven by multiple times growing up. This is a tree on the Northfork highway; my old stomping grounds in Wyoming. Just before you get to the tunnels that run alongside the river and the Buffalo Bill Dam, this tree grows out from under a giant rock. It is a sight to behold, and one of my favorite landmarks along this stretch of road.
At first glance it emanates perseverance. This giant rock fell from goodness knows where, and covered the little seedling as it sprouted up from the ground. Instead of giving up, instead of allowing itself to be crushed by the weight of its obstacles, the tree kept growing. Onward. Upward, No, it isn’t perfect, it isn’t the poster-child of healthy looking trees, but in its abstractness, it is breathtaking. It is beautiful. The rock definitely shaped the tree, but when all is said and done, it’s still a tree. It’s still growing. It’s still full of life.
Isn’t that how our life happens? Our obstacles begin to shape us. We either crumble beneath their weight, or allow them to somehow shape us into our unique calling. We may not look anything like we imagined we would when we come out the other side. The important thing, however, is we push on and keep going.

Believe it or not, I am non-confrontational. Most of the time. If I look down the path and see something other than what I planned on or imagined, I will most likely avoid it if I can. I don’t like hurdles. I don’t like obstacles. I don’t like trouble. I want easy. I want simple. I want painless.

Yet, when you look at this tree, at this rock – for whatever reason, it is so inspiring. Wondrous. Powerful. And as I was in scripture, God put this passage on my heart.

You see….that rock is not an obstacle. It isn’t a deterrent. Rather, the Rock is support. A stronghold. The LORD is upright, he is my Rock.

Life might look uncomfortable up ahead. It might look nothing like what you had planned. It also might not be what you fear, however. Instead of a boulder blocking your path, it may be the Rock, waiting there to hold you up. When you keep growing and reaching upward, you may not end up at all as you had imagined. You may be bent out of shape. You may bear the scars of your ordeal. But you will not be left to fight alone. You will not be without Him by your side.

When you continue on the path chosen for you, you can turn around and see one of the most beautiful partnerships imaginable. You, your God, together. You can remember this journey and the landmarks He provided. The thing about predictability, and pristine-ness, is it does not set you apart. When you continue to grow despite your perceived barriers, embracing them, your life becomes more beautiful, more unique, more purposeful than it would have otherwise.

Onward. Upward. Lord, help me trust, and lean on your understanding.

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